Venetian Masks by Kim Fielding
Title: Venetian Masks
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreampsinner Press February 2013
Blurb: Jeff Dawkins’s last partner left him with a mortgage he can’t afford and nonrefundable tickets for a month’s vacation in Europe. Despite a reluctance to travel, Jeff decides to go on the trip anyway. After all, he’s already paid for it. He packs a Kindle loaded with gay romance novels and arrives in Venice full of trepidation. There he meets the handsome and charming expat Cleve Prieto, who offers to serve as his tour guide. Jeff has serious misgivings—he wasn’t born yesterday, and something about Cleve doesn’t sit right—but anything is better than wandering the canals alone. With Cleve’s help, Jeff falls in love with Venice and begins to reconcile with his past. For the first time, Jeff finds himself developing strong feelings for someone else. But he can’t be sure who that person is because Cleve’s background remains a mystery embroidered with lies.
Then a dark figure from Cleve’s past appears, and Jeff must choose whether to let Cleve flee alone or to join him on a desperate run through central Europe. Maybe Jeff will finally be able to see behind Cleve’s masks—if he survives the journey.
Review: I love this book. It’s fun, sexy, sweet and romantic. It has travel and adventure in foreign lands and a deliciously angsty love story between a sexy IT guy and a mysterious man of potentially dubious character.
Jeff is adorable; he’s that sexy kind of guy who is a little unsure of himself and more complex than he first appears. Most of his adventures occur in the stories he reads on his Kindle. A solitary trip to Europe pushes him way outside his comfort zone, since the furthest he’s been from Sacramento is Canada. His ex made all of the arrangements for them before he decided to move in with his new boyfriend.
Cleve is hot, tatted, damaged and comes with dangerous baggage. He could charm his way through anything and past just about anyone. Guys like Cleve are valued for their looks and bed skills but they aren’t loved. Especially not by sexy geeks who know better than to get mixed up with trouble. But when you finally find something worth keeping you don’t let anything take it away.
Jeff is at first dazzled by the beauty and charm of Cleve, even while doubting the possibility that Cleve’s attentions are genuine. Boring IT guys do not draw the attention of the best looking guy they’ve ever met. It doesn’t help that Cleve’s stories keep contradicting themselves. Jeff’s troubles begin as he gets past Cleve’s hot body and ready smile to the sweet and insecure man beneath. As he is drawn further into Cleve’s world he finds within himself untapped strengths and a depth of feeling he didn’t know he had.
What starts out as a casual mutually beneficial tour guide arrangement quickly spirals into something precious as each man finds himself having to decide what he’s willing to do to keep the other man safe. It kept me reading to see what new adventure they’d get into and how they would make their happy ending out of the crazy mess they are running from. Love all of the beautiful places they visit in Europe. You can tell the author has spent time in these places.
I adored the heroes the men became. Fell in love with their story and was so very pleased with the end. And without spoiling it for you, let’s just say you’ll never look at a Kindle the same. 😉
Reviewed by: Nina